Wednesday, June 06, 2007

pressed in to give out

I believe the pressures we face, often in line with the comment Charity Singleton left just the other day, are situations or circumstances God allows or puts us in so that we're pressed in to give out in the service of love to others.

In this process is God's working in us, to make us together what he wants us to be, lovingly, in Christ. It's a love that works to be rid of all that which is a part of us in Adam, and see us renewed together in the image of Christ himself.

It might be easier, and I think really is easier to draw back into some kind of false piety, living unto ourselves before God as "holy". But in reality God's work doesn't just stop with us individually and him. It goes on to all our relationships and even beyond them into the world of all, who like Christ died for his enemies. (Much thought here probably comes from my current rereading of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Life Together.)

So we're pressed in, and the pressure may not seem fun or peaceful, though we need to learn to accept God's peace in this, to live in a love from God with each other, so that in Christ we learn to excel in the love of God in giving of ourselves to others. This must include all, no one should be left behind. And this love reaches out to all, even our enemies.


Every Square Inch said...

Here's how I try to think about it - we serve others to gain from the service. Our service to others, especially in hardship or inconvenience is an opportunity to experience God.

It's a principle that I apply in my latest post on "Building to Gain the Reward".

Ted Gossard said...

ESI, I like your point that service is an opportunity to experience God. It is said even of Jesus that for the joy set before him, he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and is now seated at the right hand of God (Hebrews 12).

I do think we have to be those who look not to our own interests ("only" is added by the NIV, not in the original nor in the TNIV or NRSV), like Timothy, who could take a genuine interest in the welfare of others since he was looking out for the interests of Jesus Christ (Philippians 2). Love is not self-seeking (1 Corinthians 13).

But at the same time, we delight in being a part of the rich inheritance we have in Jesus and with each other. So that we should end up delighting just as much in the blessing and reward others receive from God, as what we receive (Miroslav Volf).